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06/30/2021
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WorkScoop
The White House wants to crack down on ransomware hackers, and keeping payments to them quiet. Federal agencies aren't doing a great job of tracking use of facial recognition tech. And DoubleVPN is taking an international law enforcement hit. This is CyberScoop for June 30, 2021.

White House official talks ransomware plans

Deputy National Security Adviser Anne Neuberger said Tuesday that the White House is considering whether companies should be able to keep ransomware payments secret. She also said the Biden administration was looking at an operation to weaken the Trickbot botnet as a model for going after ransomware attackers' infrastructure. But Neuberger said the idea of banning ransomware payments entirely was more difficult. Tim Starks has it covered.


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Watchdog says feds need to better account for how they use facial recognition tech

More than a dozen federal agencies aren't keeping track of when their employees use facial recognition technology from sources other than the federal government, according to a government watchdog report. The Government  Accountability Office says that's a red flag because it means the agencies aren't able to vet the accuracy of the software. Federal agencies conduct millions of facial recognition searches a year. At least six agencies conducted them during the George Floyd protests last summer. There's momentum in Congress to ban law enforcement use of the technology, which research shows can be disproportionately inaccurate on people of color. Tonya Riley breaks it down.


Cops seize DoubleVPN, a Russian service for scammers

A security tool that hackers used to disguise their ransomware attacks, email scams and other nefarious activity is offline following a global law enforcement action. Servers and web domains belonging to DoubleVPN, a virtual private network, were seized during an investigation by the Dutch National Police, the FBI, the U.K.’s National Crime Agency and Europol. Accused cybercriminals advertised DoubleVPN throughout Russian and English-speaking hacker markets as a means of helping customers hide their location and internet traffic from police for prices as low as $25. Jeff Stone has the news.


Federal agency cyber experts rotational bill advances

The Oversight Committee sent a bill that would create a federal rotational program for private-sector cybersecurity experts to the House floor Tuesday. An identical version of the Federal Rotational Cyber Workforce Program Act is working its way through the Senate after being reintroduced there and in the House in April and May respectively. If created, the rotational program would allow senior tech industry workers to ply their trade for the U.S. government for a set period before returning to their original or a similar role in the private sector. Dave Nyczepir has more for FedScoop.


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